Book Review: ‘The Devil You Know’ by Trish Doller

the devil you knowEighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and her friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving–the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions. 

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

I have loved and adored Trish Doller’s previous books, and The Devil You Know was no exception–with regards to the enjoyment factor. However, I did want to shake our MC and make her recite “Thou shalt not go on a roadtrip with two boys that one has only just met.” Seriously. Of all the bad decisions in the world, going off on a vacation with strangers is just a recipe for disaster. Or murder, in this instance.

The thriller part of this book really only comes into play in the last third or so of the novel – before then, the atmosphere is slightly sinister, but focuses largely on the roadtrip itself and Cadie’s own troubles. The deliberate misdirection, in this case, felt vastly overdone–if you keep pointing at the one dude really hard, we’re going to feel like it’s too obvious and suspect the other one. Or at least, I did.

Apart from her terrible decision-making skills, I genuinely liked our MC, Cadie (short for Arcadia). She’s a girl who has struggled with grief and has assumed a boatload of responsibilities when it comes to taking care of her family. Her yearning for some adventure without obligations is understandable, and her uncertainty as to where her life is going is something that resonated strongly with me.

While the blurb makes it sound as though there is a love triangle, it’s really not. Sure, Cadie feels attraction/lust towards charismatic, good-looking dudes, but the relationship angle is decidedly between two people.

I look down at his tanned hands and strong wrists, and I feel guilty for being attracted to him. Like I’m some greedy, boy-crazy creature when in reality I’ve been a girl in a drought and this sudden influx of attention feels like a flash flood.

The book was also unabashedly feminist and sex-positive. Yay!

“Poach?” My eyebrows practically climb up into my hairline. “Seriously? Like I’m an endangered white rhino instead of a person? Pretty sure I’m capable of choosing for myself, instead of waiting around for you guys to decide who gets me. So that’s not what you meant by poach, right?”


Mom couldn’t even sit through the pledge service without giggling, so she excused herself and went outside. Later, she told me that my virginity wasn’t something to be lost or won, given or received.

“Your goodness doesn’t lie between your thighs,” she said, and my twelve-year-old blush was so furious I thought my face was going to explode. “And you don’t lose value by having sex. When you are ready, Cadie, you will know it. Just be your regular smart self and you’ll be fine.”

All in all, an entertaining, vaguely creepy read that delivered more on the contemporary issues than the thriller aspect.

PS. I liked the dog. I’m glad the dog didn’t die. I may have had to take off an extra star if that had happened.

Rating: 7/10

Hannah is a twenty-something born and bred Capetonian who adores reading and reviewing books, and encouraging critical discussion on all things pop culture. Currently a politics graduate student, she spent two years working in digital marketing before deciding she missed the student life. Loves QI, travel, dark chocolate, fantasy & YA books, pilates and sarcasm.